#IAmGalen: Max Stroud, Lead Consultant, Field Services

#IAmGalen: Max Stroud, Lead Consultant, Field Services

maxstroudWhat was your background prior to joining Galen, and what made you join us?

I received a Masters in Social Work from the University of Vermont and spent several years working in the field with multiple populations – including survivors of abuse, individuals with intellectual disabilities and people with significant health needs. I like to call my time as a professional social worker a “boot camp for life,” where I learned a lot of valuable things about individuals, communities and healthcare in a very personal way.

In 2008, I decided it was time for a change.  I had always been a geek (more about that here) and so taking a huge leap with a young company I turned my career on its head and joined Galen.  I was excited to connect with a company that was filled with smart individuals who were committed to their employees and that were willing to share this journey with me.

 What does your day-to-day job involve?

My day to day work is as diverse as my clients.  I have helped clients through major version upgrades. I have provided Business Analyst services to a major EHR vendor. I have provided advice and technical assistance on many Meaningful Use projects. I have brought an oncology practice from paper to electronic records without the aid of an oncology add-on (which required a lot of creative & exciting configuration). I have provided skilled backfill support for legacy systems while client teams ramp up for an EHR migration.

 What is the one thing you hope to do in your role?

My favorite projects are the ones where a team needs help in determining the solution that meets their needs. This draws on my soft skills working with people, facilitating groups and drawing out information about what exactly teams need.  Then it allows me to use my problem solving and technical skills to help find a solution that works for everyone in the room.  I am at my best when I am working side by side with physicians, administrators and technical teams.

You’ve become quite the Twitter star over the past year.  How did that come to be? What drew you to become so involved in the Twitterverse?

Crazy as it sounds, I actually got involved with Twitter because I was bored.  I was recovering from a foot surgery and I was not yet back to work.  When I started to explore Twitter in depth – I found that there were all these people that were regularly posting news articles and having conversations about the very topics that are near and dear to my heart. When I attended my first Tweetchat – I was all in. I could see so much value and potential in the social media landscape to help start building bridges in a very siloed healthcare system. It blew me away that I could just sign up and end up in a conversation with a CEO, a patient and a physician about best practices…. So I just kept tweeting and stuck around. Today, I have friends who are innovators, CIOs, physicians, patient advocates & CEOs.

 Has your work/fame on Twitter contributed to the success you’ve had as a consultant?

Wow, great question.  Twitter absolutely contributes to my success – but teasing out the very specific ways can be a little tough. The 140-character limit on twitter has helped me with concision. I tend to be a storyteller by nature, so the short format helps me choose my words wisely and make points in short statements. Participating as a member of the healthcare IT community on Twitter keeps me informed about what is happening in our community and issues being faced in the delivery of care that I might not be aware of if I just stayed in my cozy spot in an application’s back end.  It keeps me sharp and challenges me to view problems from multiple perspectives.  It also elevates the patient voice which is often so far removed from my day to day work but is so critically important.

 There’s something to be said for the connections we make out in the field. Have there been any particular client/staff interactions that stand out to you over the years?

One project I will never forget was helping a small oncology practice in rural Mississippi transition from paper to electronic records.  Not only was it challenging and rewarding to work through getting the specs and developing a unique implementation – but as I spent days and weeks and months working on this project, it changed me.

It takes a special kind of person to work in an Oncology practice.  I knew that working in the clinic was going to be tough for me.  I had recently lost my father to cancer and my sister had recently been diagnosed. I slowly learned over the course of my time there that every single person working in that particular clinic had had their life touched by cancer in some way and had made a conscious choice – as a family member, a survivor – to work in that clinic and help make life better for people with cancer in their community.  They walked as a team in the relay for life – not as a team builder or for marketing – but because they wanted to.  They had a smile for every person who walked through the door, and they went out of their way to take the very best care of them.

What’s one thing that not a lot of people know about Galen that they should?

Everyone at Galen works with heart and they put their all into what they do – including leadership.  As I mentioned before, I’ve gone through some hard times in my tenure at Galen and the leadership team has been as committed to me and my success as I am.  They support and reward hard work, and they also take care of their own.  They have my back.

Caught the Galen culture bug? Meet some other awesome Galeneers here

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